Mary is beautiful, even in her sorrow.
Today is the Feast of the Sorrowful Mother. Recalling Cardinal Ratzinger’s words from yesterday’s post, we can see that Mary is beautiful even in her sorrow:
The Blessed Virgin is the lady of fair weeping. Her tears were beautiful. These are the sorrows of one who is all beautiful, full free from the deformity of sin. . . No lamentation has been lovelier, no compassion purer . . . . The sinless Spirit-filled heart of Mary is beautifully centred on the will of the Father and on His and her Son and those for whom He suffers. (John Saward, The Beauty of Holiness and the Holiness of Beauty)
And a little consoling excerpt from Magnificat today: “As the Savior’s dying gift to us, Jesus leads us back to Mary. For we need the maternal closeness of the Sorrowful Mother to sustain us when overcome by the terrifying trials of life.”
Saturday is traditionally observed as the day of Our Lady. John Saward explains why.
Have you ever wondered why Saturday is traditionally observed as the day of Our Lady? A few years ago I was reading a book by John Saward (The Beauty of Holiness, the Holiness of Beauty), and, in a section about our Lady, he described Mary’s unfailing faith through the long, terrible day after Christ’s death when she alone kept faith in her Son. I had never before heard of this mariological foundation for Saturday being traditionally her day:
The yes [her continued yes to the Lord that began with her Annunciation yes] of Our Lady does not end on Good Friday and [Christ’s] yielding of the spirit . . . . The faith and love of Our Lady last into Holy Saturday. The dead body of the Son of God lies in the tomb, while His soul descends into Sheol, the Limbo of the Fathers. Jesus goes down into the hideous kingdom of death to proclaim the power of the Cross and the coming victory of the Resurrection and to open Heaven’s gates to Adam and Eve and all the souls of the just. The Apostles, hopeless and forlorn, know none of this. “As yet,” St. John tells us, “they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise from the dead” (Jn 20.9). In all Israel, is there no faith in Jesus? On this silent Saturday, this terrible Shabbat, while the Jews’ true Messiah sleeps the sleep of death, who burns the lights of hope? Is there no loyal remnant? There is, and its name is Mary. In the fortitude of faith, she keeps the Sabbath candles alight for her Son. That is why Saturday, the sacred day of her physical brethren, is Our Lady’s weekly festival. On the first Holy Saturday, in the person of Mary of Nazareth, Israel now an unblemished bride, faces her hardest trial and, through the fortitude of the Holy Spirit, is triumphant.
And I take great comfort in knowing that Mary always burns the light of hope for me (and you!) as well.